Each day this Thanksgiving Week, WitOut asks a Philly comedian what he or she is thankful for. Today we asked Chip Chantry.
1. I’m thankful that my intramural Knockout Game team just made the semi-finals.
2. I’m thankful for the new Arcade Fire album, so now I don’t have to choreograph my figure-rollerblade routines to just Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, like I had to for the last 12 season in a row.
3. I’m thankful for my Thursday Red Lobster lunches with Steve Swan. (UPDATE: The police have only been called ONCE on us this past month!)
4. I’m thankful for the decades-spanning body of work of Mr. Dabney Coleman.
5. I’m thankful for Christmas music on B101, so now I have something to listen to when I write in my revenge diary.
6. I’m thankful that I’ll be at Helium Comedy Club tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 and 10pm. I’m thankful that there is more information at www.heliumcomedy.com.
Each day this Thanksgiving Week, WitOut asks a Philly comedian what he or she is thankful for. Today we asked Brian Craig.
I could very easily give any number of jokey responses, delightfully glib or arcane or absurd, but instead I’d like to take this opportunity to genuinely answer what I’m thankful for: my wife, Samantha Russell. An inventive cook, an incredible party-planner, and a deftly subtle comedian, I am constantly floored by what she’s able to selflessly accomplish, and this little public note can hardly express the degree to which I truly appreciate what she does for me and everyone around her.
You can vote for Chip Chantry, Mary Radzinski. Rachel Fogletto, New Dreamz, Alison Zeidman at this year’s Philebrity Awards. Also nominated was Alejandro Morales [for general fabulousness]. Head over there and vote. (Also, keep an eye out for WitOut Award nomination forms, coming soon!)
Each day this Thanksgiving Week, WitOut asks a Philly comedian what he or she is thankful for. Today we asked Aubrie Williams.
I am thankful for:
-my family- they have always been supportive of me, even when I decided to take up DDR in their living room for a few months in high school.
-my friends- for without them, I wouldn’t have any friends and would be known as that weird girl around town who cries into her nachos at the Applebees.
-for two new additions to my family, both named after geographical locations!
-also I’m thankful for maps- for without them, the previously mentioned additions wouldn’t have names! (or at least the same ones)
-for buffets- good and bad, old and new! Shout out to Ruby Buffet on Delaware Ave., where I was once elbowed by a man who was trying to steal the last snow crab leg from me.
-I am thankful for that man not letting me have that last crab leg, because as he took his tiny crab leg back to his table, they brought out a new tray and I got to fill my plate. I call that karma, sir.
-I am thankful for Buffetts, namely Jimmy- because of him, we have a wonderful chain restaurant called Margaritaville! …and also a song, but I’m more thankful for the one involving food.
-the 1st concert I ever went to, which was not Jimmy Buffett but Puff Daddy and the Family’s No Way Out Tour in 1998. If I didn’t go, I wouldn’t have gotten to shake ODB’s hand at the tender age of 15 and subsequently get yelled at by our chaperone for calling him “Mr. Bastard!” to get his attention.
-lastly, I am thankful that life always throws bizarre and absurd things my way because this is how and why I do comedy. If I didn’t do comedy, I wouldn’t be a comedian, and this article would never exist.
Philly native Todd Glass is coming to Helium Comedy Club this week for a string of shows with Chip Chantry Chip Chantry. Todd asked me to write it twice because he thinks Chip will get excited. [Scroll down for Chip's reaction!]
WitOut: Hi Todd! Where in the world are you?
Todd Glass: Hey, right now I am in Kansas performing with Jim Gaffigan.
WitOut: What’s a comedy crowd like in Kansas?
Glass: Well if you’re with someone as big as Jim you’re drawing his audience and they’re good. But the city doesn’t make the audience, the club does. If you have a good club it doesn’t matter where you are. Granted, there are cities that are more beautiful than others but as far as the way the audience acts it’s based on how the club operates. In my opinion, the best comedy club in America is Acme Comedy Club in Minneapolis. Who’d think Minneapolis would have the best club? But when a club has high standards and respects the comedy, the audience will follow. They train the audiences. Helium, I give them an A++. One of the best clubs in the country. When Marc (owner of Helium Comedy Club) wanted to start Helium he went to the Montreal Comedy Festival and asked comics, “What’s your favorite club?”, and they kept saying Acme. So, Marc decided he had to check this place out. He went to Minneapolis, met with Louis Lee (owner of Acme Comedy Club), and made it happen.
WitOut: Do you have any memorable stories about shows you’ve done here in Philly?
Glass: It made me proud whenever I’d come to Philly with other acts. Once I was on tour with Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman, and David Cross, and when we came to Philly I so didn’t want it to be a bad crowd. The crowd ended up being unbelievably great. So great. And I was so proud.
WitOut: I know you’ve shot a couple pilots over the years, is that something you’d like to do again?
Glass: I just sold a pilot to Comedy Central actually, I’m very excited about it. It’s called The Todd Glass Situation. My character owns a college bar/restaurant–which is one layer of the show but it doesn’t consume the whole show. It also deals with me being in the closet all those years…gosh I hate that term but what the fuck else am I gonna say? There’s never been a show about hiding in the closet. Like, what does it REALLY mean to be in the closet on a day-to-day basis? It’s important to who I am but I didn’t want it to be the A slot of the show so, it’s a layer, never the primary story. At least I hope it’s that way in the show.
WitOut: I’m curious, what is it you don’t like about the phrase “in the closet?”
Glass: “In the closet,” ugh, I don’t know, it’s probably my own issue. It’s just so…flamboyant. Maybe that’s not it.
WitOut: Is it because it’s sort of a pithy way to describe it?
Glass: Yeah, see, you said it better than me. But also, ya know, sometimes you just don’t like something and ya can’t even explain it? It’s hard to explain but, obviously one day we won’t have that expression because we won’t need to.
WitOut: I was actually not going to ask about last year’s WTF announcement unless it came up naturally since it seems interviewers always ask about it .
Glass: As far as the Maron thing goes, I don’t mind talking about it, I like the mix. I didn’t talk about it my whole life so I’m good talking about it. But yeah, I appreciate your thought to not ask. But, it’s a gigantic part of my life. If we pull it off right on the show it won’t be a gigantic part of the show. It was very rarely the A plot of my day. Mostly B or C slot. It’s not gonna drive the show. But I’ll say this, it’ll be funny obviously, but it’ll also hopefully shed a lot of light on the issue and make people say, “I never fucking thought about that.” Like, how to handle it when your parents are in town, or, if you’re in a diner and three people there know but the fourth doesn’t. If you’re smoking pot and worry, “Shit, did I just misspeak and say something I didn’t mean to?”
WitOut: Do you remember where your first set was?
Glass: Absolutely. It was at Comedy Works on 2nd and Chestnut. It was an amazing place. I first went when I was in high school. Some friends and I went to see comedy and I was completely unaware that there were comedians that weren’t household names but had followings. Established, really great comedians. It was a 300 seat room, we saw so many greats: Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Gilbert Gottfried, Richard Lewis, Tim Allen, Roseanne Barr, Eddie Murphy, Stephen Wright, just amazing comics. Eventually I went up there. I was almost 16, I had a very frenetic energy. Everyone was very kind and told me I’m funny but that I gotta calm down. Then, and I’ll never forget this, [The Legendary] Wid comes up and says to me, “You don’t have to change anything, you’re funny just the way you are.” I have a special place in my heart for him. He’s very supportive and that’s so fucking important.
WitOut: What do people most often recognize you from?
Glass: Good question, times have changed with social media and podcasts. So, either a show like Comedy Bang Bang, podcasting or Jimmy Kimmel since I’ve done that show quite a few times. But people still remember me from Last Coming Standing too.
WitOut: How do you view the Philly comedy scene now compared to when you started?
Glass: Right now there’s a really good scene in Philly. There wasn’t for years but now there is, basically since Helium opened. It re-sparked excitement for comedy in the city. Between Helium and lots of niche one-nighters at bars or music venues or theatres, it’s great. And there are a lot of new, really funny people in the last 7, 8 years. I love watching stand-up comedy and if I get to a town a night early I’ll go to the open mic night. Some people are there for the first time, some have been there 7 times, but there’s also established really good acts who just live in Philly and go down there. You see a lot of funny new people which is exciting.
See Todd Glass (with Chip Chantry) this Wednesday (11/27), Friday (11/29), and Saturday (11/30) at Helium Comedy Club (2031 Sansom St., Philadelphia, PA 19103) .
Response from Chip Chantry:
Excited? Here’s what I would be excited about.
1. I’d be excited if I was working with a headliner that does NOT belittle me in front of the staff, customers, and management on a nightly basis.
2. I’d be excited if I was working with a headliner who does not insist on having the venue pay HIM my check for the week, and who then takes a 40% “mentoring fee”.
3. I’d be excited to work with a headliner who doesn’t throw glasses of whiskey at me when I forget to get extra pickles with the panini that he likes from the deli all the way across town at midnight. And who screams at me about how he’s friends with Jim Gaffigan, and how “friends with Jim Gaffigan get extra pickles, Goddammit!” And then he burns me with a cigarette and screams outdated racial slurs that don’t even apply to me.
4. And I’d be excited to work with a headliner who doesn’t force me to do wind sprints in front of the club right before I go onstage, so I’m all out of breath for the first minute of the four minutes he lets me do. And most of those four minutes are announcements he makes me read about how great Todd Glass is, and how Todd Glass is best friends with Jim Gaffigan, and how Todd Glass is so much funnier than I am, and how I should just quit comedy altogether and get a job cleaning up monkey shit at a monkey zoo. THAT’S NOT EVEN A REAL ANNOUNCEMENT, DAVE! AND I DON’T THINK THERE IS ACTUALLY A THING CALLED A MONKEY ZOO! IT’S JUST A ZOO!
I’m dreading this week.
Dave Metter is a Philly comedian, check him out on Twitter @DaveMetter, and check out his fake local news show Your News, Philadelphia December 5th and 6th at the Shubin Theatre.
Each day this Thanksgiving Week, WitOut asks a Philly comedian what he or she is thankful for. Today we asked Dave Terruso.
What I, David Anthony Terruso, am thankful for this year:
1. My funny and beautiful ladyfriend, Carrie.
2. Having awesome supportive parents who love me and always make me feel welcome. And a cool brother, and a goodhearted and funny nephew. My extended family is also supportively awesome.
3. Having close friends I can count on for help and support, and also a jillion acquaintances I can have really silly banter with on a daily basis.
4. Finding a literary agent who believes in me and that I can connect with on a personal level.
5. The 700 people who bought my novel this year.
6. The nine months I got to devote solely to writing and comedy. (This is me being thankful to myself, since I depleted my own savings to do it.)
7. My health.
8. The laughter of kittens.
9. My two penises: the really big one that doesn’t work but draws in the ladies. And the way smaller one that does work and has closed the sale for many a disappointed gal.
10. Judd Hirsch.
11. Being a host at Helium Comedy Club and getting to hob knobs with my comedy heroes.
12. My little-known but oft-used telekinetic powers. (Yes, I freely admit I’m not naturally that good at claw crane machines. It’s my push power that wins me so many stuffed pals.)
13. The Criterion Collection.
14. The inexpensive price of Chocolate Juniors. Mmmmm.
15. My landlady/ex-coworker for letting me live in a big three-bedroom house in Manayunk for way less than the rent should be.
16. The way farts never stop being funny.
17. The reason all of us are alive right now: photosynthesis.
18. All the music that gets me through the day, the comedy that makes me laugh, and the literature and films that teach me what being human really is.
19. Did I say Judd Hirsch already? Let me check. Oh, yeah, he was #10. Well, I reiterate: I’m thankful for him.
Each day this Thanksgiving Week, WitOut asks a Philly comedian what he or she is thankful for. Today we asked Kristen Schier.
I am thankful for my little red bike that takes me so quickly through town.
I am thankful for my job. I am really lucky to be doing something I love.
I am thankful to Honey’s for their cheap and delicious breakfast special and for my boyfriend, who is the honey I usually share it with.
I am thankful for my family. For real though.
I am thankful for the vibrant comedy scene in Philadelphia. Here’s to bigger and better in the years to come.
WitOut aims to support those Philly comedians who are on the vanguard, pounding pavement out there each and every week.
We are organized by a retired dolphin-dentist living in Jersey who may or may not have kept current with the comedy proletariat since his days emceeing in Doylestown.
That said, if you see a listing on our calendar that is not up-to-date, hit us up with a Skypestagram or Vineblr (or whatnot) and let us know!
Also, if you got any scoop on shows that indeed ARE in existence, please reinforce them with us. firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, go see comedy shows in your metropolis and its suburbs tonight and tomorrow. Cheers! -RC
Here are some photos from recent comedy shows around town… Do you produce or perform in a show from which you can send us photos? Email them to email@example.com!
Aaron Nevins Hosts Hang On (w/ Aaron Nevins).
Aaron chats with audience wrangler Dan Vetrano.
The panel lays down some Dude Rules. (L to R: Tim Butterly, Mike Alloy, Aaron Nevins, Kevin Ryan).
Aaron sits down with guests Kevin Allison and Dave Hill.
And from Wednesday’s East Coast Power Nap…
Alejandro Morales and TJ Hurley share the theme of the night: Christmas.
[photo by Ben Miller.]
Aaron Hertzog offers life-hacks for running out of pizza.
[photo by Ben Miller]
Elise explains how her dad got a good deal on a flight to Disneyland for the family after 9/11.
[photo by Ben Miller.]
Jim discusses the science of why butt-holes are tight.
[photo by Ben Miller]
Mike Logan on how his dad doesn’t need to hear about his nights out.
[Photo by Ben Miller]
Natalie Levant’s search for gray hairs moves south.
[Photo by Ben Miller]
Setoiyo never had fun doing recreational drugs. (Ritalin made him actually do his homework.)
[photo by Ben Miller]
And because we didn’t have anybody reliable to take photographs last night at Free For All, Philly Comedy fashionista Joe Moore reports on what everybody was wearing:
Alison Zeidman - White and black checkered shirt, all buttons buttoned, 3/4′s length sleeves, folded once just above the elbow. Black jeans. Brown moccasins with no socks.
Dave Topor - White knit hat. Grey hooded sweatshirt with 3 horizontal black stripes running from shoulder to shoulder, split by a white vertical zipper running the length of the shirt zipped approximately half way, the letters “A D I D A S” in white below a white “Adidas logo” on the left breast, a small white zippered pocket on the bottom left of the sweatshirt. Black undershirt. Blue jeans. All white sneakers.
Brian Finnell - Grey hoodied sweatshirt unzipped, white zipper, sleeves rolled to the elbows. navy blue t-shirt with a dark blue quadrangle and a light blue quadrangle separated by a white line. Grey jeans. Black shoes, black laces, white swoosh, and white soles.
Chris Dolan - Black sweater over a white-with-thin-grey-lines dress shirt, the collar over the sweater and the cuffs over the sweater. White undershirt under the dress shirt. Off-white pants. Off-white canvas shoes with white soles and white laces.
Pat Kelly - Black button down short sleeve shirt, white t-shirt, blue jeans. Grey canvas shoes with white soles and white laces.
Sidney Gantt - Grey sweatshirt, hoodless, zipped 3/4ths of the way, sleeves rolled up tot he elbows over a purple t-shirt. Grey jeans. Grey shoes, with white soles, and white, light green, and black vertical stripes.
Ahamed Weinberg - Blue sweatshirt, faded black/grey jeans, tan canvas shoes, white souls, dark grey laces.
Tyler Rothrock - Midnight-Wine t-shirt untucked. Blue jeans with a small fleck of white paint on the left knee. Black shoes with lime green laces and white soles. Purple wrist band on the right wrist.
Alex Grubard - Dark blue buttonless Henley sweater over a black t-shirt just showing at the neck. Black jeans. Black sneakers with black laves and white soles.
Frequent late-night guest and Last Comic Standing alum Gary Gulman, headlines at Helium Comedy Club (2031 Sansom Street) tonight through Saturday. Gulman is stopping in Philadelphia during a six week tour and promoting his new special, This Economy. He takes a unique approach to long-format jokes in the clever articulation of entertaining (and often handy) storytelling.
We caught up with Gulman to talk about his particular brand of comedy and stand-up life.
Witout: You’ve been on tour for some time now. Where are you now?
Gary Gulman: I’m on the road for the next six weeks. I’m in Boston right now, doing a show at Boston University with Denis Leary and Jimmy Fallon. It’s for the [Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care]. It’s a tradition in Boston, I’ve done it the past 18 years. Originally–I think–it was just comedians from Boston. Now, they bring in famous comedians. Anyway, it’s very well attended. There were probably like 10,000 people there. It’s an honor to do it.
WitOut: Where are you headed over the next few weeks?
Gulman: After Philadelphia, I’ll be in New Brunswick for the following weekend and then I’m going to Atlanta and San Francisco. There is another stop somewhere–maybe Houston. But, I’m very busy the rest of the year.
WitOut: That’s a good thing. Are you going to be making anymore television appearances?
Gulman: Sure. I was also just in a movie that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival called Lucky Them with Toni Collette. But yeah, I usually do the late-night shows every six months or so. And then I usually do a Comedy Central special every year or two. The most recent is on Netflix, called This Economy.
WitOut: Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Gulman: Sure. It was basically inspired by the recession in 2008, which I was affected by. Not so much by the economy as I was affected by bad choices in my love life. I bought a house for this woman I was engaged to and it didn’t work out. I was stuck with the house by myself so I was broke. Money was a real issue. It sort of happened at the same time that everyone else in the country was struggling so I was able to find a lot of common ground with the audience on the effects of money and keeping [money] in perspective–and also some of my favorite ways to save money, which involved a lot of cutting back and some stealing.
Well, not bad stealing. When I went to the movies, I would always put in the senior discount. I also once stole a muffin from Whole Foods when the line was really backed up. Nothing the way of major crime but I did save some money.
WitOut: What is up next for you in terms of the comedy that you’re delivering?
Gulman: I don’t talk about [money] as much anymore, probably because I’ve weathered the storm and I’m financially stable again. I still talk about certain aspects of the economy, mostly the ridiculous disparity between the wealthy and the rest of us. I would say that I turned more on my personal life than my financial life. I mostly just tell really long stories about things that have happened to me. That’s sort of my style–making really long stories with digressions and stories within stories. That’s my niche. It’s unique but it’s not like I invented anything. There just aren’t too many people who sound like me.
WitOut: Do you think this type of anecdotal comedy is gaining traction these days?
Gulman: I don’t think that’s the case. I think there are more one-liners and topical jokes out there. It’s because the shows are giving comedians five minutes to perform and you can’t really build a long story in five minutes. I’ve found that to be the case.
WitOut: So what is it that draws you to that long format, then?
Gulman: Uhm. I’m great at it.
WitOut: Fair enough.
Gulman: Yeah, and the audience loves it. If the audience was turned off by it, I’d probably shy away from it but I’ve been able to pull it off.
WitOut: Are you ever planning on slowing down your stand-up schedule for TV?
Gulman: No! I love it so much. I really resent having to occasionally do an audition or a meeting because it takes away from stand-up. It was fun to be in a movie but it was 16 hours of standing around to do about a half an hour of work. I prefer stand-up. It’s just so much fun and the audience is great.
I’m at a point where I’m performing in front of good audiences at good venues. [Stand-up] was hard for a long time but now I can’t think of a better way to spend my time.
WitOut: That’s awesome to hear. I think a lot of comedians are moving onto so many other things.
Gulman: [Laughs] I appreciate that because the more time they spend making TV and movies, the more room there is for me to take their shows.
WitOut: Why do you prefer live performance?
Gulman: It’s instant feedback. You’re creative. You feel like you’re a creator and a performer. It’s ideal. I don’t know how people stop doing it after they get TV shows. The only reason that I would want a TV show is to get more people at my shows.
WitOut: So, your show in Philadelphia… Are you excited to come visit us?
Gulman: I love Philadelphia. I’ve been coming down there since about 2005-2006 to perform at Helium. They are some of my best shows. I have a big crowd there. It’s perfect. If I could find a theater there to do my next special in, I would do it. I love it.
Colleen T. Reese is a contributor to Geekadelphia and Schmitten Kitten. You can follow her on twitter @CollTReese.